The landscape of social media is constantly evolving, especially amongst teenagers. One of the purposes of social media is to keep us all connected and it certainly gives teens the chance to broaden their horizons and explore opportunities beyond their physical or geographical circles.1 It also allows them access to opinions on current events and societal trends. It does, however, come with the risk of being exposed to potential dangers. The challenge is to allow teens to benefit from the advantages of social media while making sure that they are aware of the potential dangers.

Teens experience social media in various ways. Owing to the pandemic, social media became the primary source of social connection for those who were unable to see their friends during this time. As mentioned, social media can be an empowering and entertaining resource tool. It is a way for people to connect; to learn about things that interest them; it can help to build an identity2 and be a way to create empathy for, and understanding of, different cultures and backgrounds.

It also has its drawbacks. Aside from the obvious negatives like cyberbullying and peer pressure, probably the most concerning is the addictive nature of cell phones and social media. In a study conducted by Adoozy Power – an SA-based technology start-up that hires out mobile power banks in automated kiosks – more than 80% of the young people surveyed said they consider themselves “addicted” to their phones and about 77% said they feel the need to reply instantly to messages.3 Various studies have also confirmed that our brains are activated by ‘likes’ on social media which creates an endless cycle of seeking affirmation and gearing our lives towards receiving those likes.

Consider the following definition from the Cambridge Dictionary4:



A term that is not as widely used but can be found in the Urban Dictionary is ‘deathscrolling’5.


The definition given is as follows:



1. South Africa Education.Info. Effects of Social Networking on Teens [Online] Available: [31 July 2023].
2. Walters, M. (2022) Health Online. Social Media and Youth Mental Health: How to Find Balance After Pandemic Spikes in Use. [Online], Available: [24 July 2023].
3. Nair, N. (2022) Young South Africans Check Their Cellphones at Least 30 Times an Hour: Survey. [Online], Available: [31 July 2023].
4. Cambridge Dictionary. [Online] Available: [31 July 2023].
5. ‘Deathscrolling’ definition. Urban Dictionary. (2020) [Online], Available: (24 July 2023).

If you are using the Achieve Careers English HL 2023 Programme, information on performance and slam poetry may be found in the Grade 10 ENG HL manual on pp. 68-71.

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